Creating Synergies to Better Serve the Citizens of Europe: European Civil Society House Conference in Brussels

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The European Parliament in Brussels and the Proinfo Foundation, in partnership with the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS), on 7 November 2012 organized a conference under the auspices of Mr Gerald Häfner, member of the European Parliament Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, entitled “Not-for-Profit Resource Centers in Europe: Creating Synergies to Better Serve the Citizens of Europe”. The Conference brought together representatives of more than 30 organizations from 26 European countries to discuss and focus on the creation of the European Civil Society House (ECSH). The ECSH will work according to the directions of the 3 “C”s – Civil society, Citizens’ rights and Civic participation and will be llocated close to the European Institutions in Brussels.

IMG_1320At the begining, the House will function as a virtual WEB platform (citizenhouse.eu), easily accessible from all over the world. The virtual WEB platform will provide the service „one stop shop”, respecting the different aspects of civic participation at EU level (access to documentation, petitions to the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman, complaints to the European Commission, the European Citizens’ Initiative).
During the meeting, the main topics of discussion were the role and the focus of the physical house, related also to the creation of an informal network of resource centers in Europe and to the added value of a “HUB”, being physically present in Brussels. Durng the meeting, participants shared their expectations about this ambitious project and committed and proposed further steps for realization of this idea.

IMG_1323The participants from Western Balkans and Turkey exchanged joint dilemmas and expressed a necessity for this ”House” to also deal with the accession issues and to be available to CSOs from this region. In the following period, a Working Group for the Accession and Pre-Accession countries will be formed with the role to follow CSOs’ use of ECSH’s servises and to create a strategy for that purpose. BCSDN, who also participated at this event, will be n chare of the creation of this working group.

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